U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, earlier this week joined with SFRC Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member Bob Corker (R-TN) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Marco Rubio (R-FL), in introducing a resolution (S. Res. 167) "reaffirming the strong support of the United States for the peaceful resolution of territorial, sovereignty, and jurisdictional disputes in the Asia-Pacific maritime domains." Senator Cardin recently returned from Asia on his first trip as subcommittee chairman.
"Maritime tensions in the East Asia Pacific region are rising, with competing claimants to swaths of the sea and islands increasing patrols and activities that could lead to misunderstandings and violence. It is in the U.S. national interest to protect free commerce along the world's busiest maritime trade routes and to ensure unimpeded access to the maritime commons of the Asia-Pacific. I believe we must actively work to keep those seas peaceful, free of conflict as well as transnational crime such as piracy and trafficking," Senator Cardin said.
"We must promote rules-based, regional norms that discourage coercion and the use of force. The U.S. will honor its treaty responsibilities and encourage the countries to directly negotiate a resolution to their disputes in a peaceful manner. I encourage countries competing for energy and fishery resources to explore joint management of resources to promote peaceful co-existence. The Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) has shown active leadership on resolving maritime disputes. I hope that an ASEAN-China agreement can be reached on a binding Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. A stable regional security environment in East Asia and the Pacific is essential for the free flow of commerce and ideas."